Captain America has action, thrills, style, and fun
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A great example of a comic book movie
What do you say about a movie where the biggest misstep you can think of is that they released it two or three weeks too late? I mean, seriously, considering the subject of the film, they couldn't have aimed a bit closer to July 4th?
Anyway, I just have to say that Captain America: the First Avenger satisfies very well as a great action movie.
The story is set in 1942 and follows one Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who is, as one character describes him, a "90 pound asthmatic." He's determined to serve his country and join the armed forces at any cost. He's the epitome of the underdog.
And, as in every movie ever made, the underdog is selected for a top-secret military experiment to enhance strength and performance. I'm pretty sure that's in every movie ever. I may have to re-watch all movies just to make sure.
Anyway, he goes from bean-pole to beef-steak in a matter of seconds and—ta-daaa!—an American icon is born. Things don't exactly go the way he planned from there, but do they ever? Again, I may have to confirm by re-watching every movie ever.
On the bad-guy side of the scale, we have Hugo Weaving as a German officer named Johann Schmidt, also known as the "Red Skull." He is pursuing a plan that will theoretically allow him to become a god and destroy the whole world. Because what good is being a god without destroying everything that you might possibly want to have power over. Am I right?
Okay, so the plan isn't as ridiculous as I make it sound, but, in the broad strokes, there's really nothing particularly new here. He has a new form of energy that the good guys have never seen before. I believe it's powered by nuclear MacGuffin.
But the action is well done and the story moves along at a nice pace. Very enjoyable.
You may remember that Chris Evans was in a couple of comic book movies a few years back about a supposedly fantastic group of four people. I enjoyed those well enough, though I will admit that they were a bit more bland than you may hope. Try not to hold that against Evans in this one. While his character—especially the 'before' picture—is still a little bland at times, the surroundings and rest of the cast really make up for that.
For instance, I enjoyed Stanley Tucci as the ill-fated Dr. Erskine. And Tommy Lee Jones has some really great lines as Colonel Phillips. Sometimes I feel like those two could read the ingredients off the back of a box of cereal and make the audience leave feeling like they had the time of their lives.
One thing that did kind of bug me was Steve Rogers' wimpy persona. The effect they used to make Chris Evans a toothpick was very well done, with just a couple of exceptions where something in the head/face area just didn't seem to move quite right. But mostly I'm thinking of the voice. Evans' voice coming out of a male Olive Oyl just felt wrong at times. They really should have made the voice a bit more high-pitched or quieter or something.
And at times the zero-to-hero story can come across as a bit heavy-handed. Virtually every scene that Steve Oyl is in has him saying something along the lines of "I don't like bullies," or "Once you start running they'll never let you stop," or "I'm a teeny tiny little man so you really should love me for my heart because when I'm all growed up, I'm gonna even a few scores."
Overall, however, the movie delivers what you want going in. It's fun. There's some great action. And there's plenty of heart.
And for those of you who care, yes there is something at the end of the credits. In previous Marvel movies, there have been plenty of tags at the end to hint at what is to come. This time, we are actually shown shots and sequences from the Avengers movie that is due to be released next year.
I give this one 8 / 10.
Captain America: the First Avenger is rated PG-13 for action violence with lots of death—including one quick shot of a body falling into a propeller that rather surprised me—and graphic scenes of patriotism and loving-your-country, which in today's political climate can be quite offensive to some.
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